The first 3D microstructural model of the entire human brain, the ‘BigBrain’ model, is free and publicly available to researchers world-wide. They can now zoom into the brain to see various cells the way we zoom into Google maps and can see houses on a street.
The brain is considered the most complex structure in the universe with 86 billion neurons. Zooming in is now possible thanks to a new brain atlas with unprecedented resolution.
The results of the BigBrain model, created at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro, McGill University – in collaboration with researchers at Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany, are published today in the June 20 issue of Science.
Dr. Alan Evans, researcher at The Neuro, co-founder of the International Consortium for Brain Mapping and co-creator of the atlas, said:
“The BigBrain atlas offers nearly cellular resolution, that is detail close to the level of the cell, a capability that has not been previously available in 3D for the human brain. To put BigBrain in context we can consider present day MRIs which have a 3D spatial resolution of 1mm. In comparison, the BigBrain data set is 50 times smaller in each dimension providing unmatched spatial resolution. The BigBrain data set is 125,000 times (50 x50 x 50) bigger than a typical MRI, and has a volume of 1 terabyte, which is equal to 1000 GB.”
Researchers world-wide will be able to download brain sections from the BigBrain website bigbrain.loris.ca.
source McGill University